Dear AANP Maine members,
 
Great news from Augusta! The Maine Legislature has reconvened for the 2021 state legislative session with new legislation to improve access to quality nurse practitioner (NP) care. Here is what you need to know and where the legislation is currently in the process:
 
  • AANP Supports L.D. 295 as recently introduced by Maine Representative Anne Perry of Calais. If enacted as introduced, LD 295 (HP 208) would eliminate the 24- month supervision period required for Maine NP licensure and practice.
  • Current Maine law requires all newly licensed Maine NPs to practice at least 24-months under the supervision of a physician or supervising nurse practitioner or be employed by a clinic or hospital that has a medical director who is a licensed physician before being authorized to practice without maintaining a supervisory relationship.
  • This change would make permanent the temporary emergency suspension of Maine’s 24-month supervision requirement under the COVID-19 Executive Action that went into effect last year in March of 2020 to increase the availability of qualified providers to meet the pandemic demand.
  • Maine was the first Full Practice Authority state to adopt a political compromise of a temporary period of supervision for new NP licensees several years ago. Since that time, Maine and other states with similar provisions have experienced costly, unnecessary regulatory and workforce challenges.
  • If enacted, Maine would join in the workforce and access benefits enjoyed by the majority (16) of United States Full Practice Authority jurisdictions that do not require any time-in-agreement as a legal precondition to practice. That includes 14 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, and the Northern Marianas Islands.
  • The fast-moving bill is scheduled for a committee hearing in the Committee On Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services next week on Thursday, February 18.
What You Can Do:
  • Speak Up: AANP Maine members can use this link to contact your state legislators in support of these changes. Make your voice heard about L.D. 295!
  • Reach Out: Maine AANP members may reach to a local Maine state nurse practitioner organization (NPO)  (MNPA) for more detail and ways to get involved on the ground.
  • Stay Informed: Maine AANP members can track this and other legislation on the AANP State Policy Tracker. Stay up-to-date through the weekly Government Affairs Update and E-Bulletin newsletters and watch for member email alerts as this bill advances through the legislative process.
AANP is encouraged to see Maine NPs and lawmakers working together to find solutions to improve access to NP care. Please watch for updates and news as the session moves forward.
 
Thank you,

Nancy T. Browne, AANP Maine State Representative
Ashley Shew, AANP Office of State Government Affairs Policy Analyst

February 10, 2021

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The American Association of Nurse Practitioners® (AANP) Partners With Project N95 to Provide Access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

AANP is now collaborating with the nonprofit organization Project N95 to provide members access to respirators, patient examination gloves, surgical masks and other PPE products. To date, Project N95 has facilitated the delivery of more than 5 million units of PPE to more than 180,000 front-line workers. Through this collaboration, AANP members have the opportunity to purchase vetted PPE in any quantity and enjoy bulk pricing that comes from leveraging AANP’s community of 118,000 members. In addition, as a AANP member, you have an additional 5-12% discount on N95 respirators and disinfectant wipes through February 19, 2021! Review the available PPE, prices, the vetting process and more, and take advantage of special pricing by placing your order before February 19.

Learn About Project N95

Leadership

Nominations Are Open for the 2021 AANP National Leadership Awards

Now is the time to honor two outstanding nurse practitioner (NP) leaders. These awards are for achievements that have impacted the NP profession on a national or international scale and for NPs who have incorporated the AANP mission into the success of their initiative(s).

The Towers Pinnacle Award is presented annually to an individual who, through policy, practice or education, has made outstanding contributions that resulted in increased national recognition for NPs and increased opportunities for NPs to provide care to patients.
The Sharp Cutting Edge Award is presented annually to an individual who has shown leadership through innovative services, technologies or advocacy activities that advanced NP practice and patient care on a national level.
Award nominations must be submitted electronically on the AANP National Leadership Awards Nomination Form. The deadline to submit your nomination is March 8, 2021.

Learn More

American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board (AANPCB) Leadership Opening

AANPCB has a leadership opening for the Director of Certification position. The AANPCB Director oversees the certification staff, programs and activities at the AANPCB office, located in Austin, TX. To apply, please send a cover letter and resume to [email protected] Visit the AANPCB website for more information.

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Free Webinar — Examining the Past: The First Step in AANP's Journey of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Join the AANP Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee for a special three-part webinar series covering AANP's past, present and future commitments to diversity! Register now for the first webinar of the series on February 25, where DEI Committee members will discuss the history of diversity initiatives at AANP, including past activities and the formation and evolution of the committee itself. This opportunity is available to AANP members only, so log in to your AANP account to register for free.

Learn More

Meet the Candidates for AANP Leadership Positions in 2021

Read about your colleagues who are seeking AANP elected office this year. Take time now to find out what makes them uniquely qualified to lead your association so that you are ready to vote in the 2021 election. Although the slate is closed for 2021, this is a good time to think about the organization and how you might be able to contribute by running for an elected leadership position in the future. AANP members who are eligible to vote in this election will be notified electronically when the ballot opens on March 11.

Membership

AANP CE Center

AANP members enjoy free, 24/7 access to the AANP CE Center, which contains hundreds of continuing education (CE) activities designed to help NPs achieve professional growth and excellence in clinical practice.

Annual [email protected] Champion Summit: February 22-23

[email protected] is a grassroots advocacy campaign of the United Nations Foundation and, as a [email protected] Partner, AANP encourages NPs to learn more about increasing vaccine awareness and disseminating information about the deadliness of vaccine-preventable diseases. AANP trains members to become [email protected] Champions each year, who go on to advocate and raise awareness in their local communities and with their legislators. These Champions are invited to attend the annual Champion Summit, held virtually this year February 22-23. Champions will hear from global health experts, policy insiders, [email protected] team members and fellow grassroots advocates on topics such as immunization equity, the impact of COVID-19 and turning policy into programs. Learn more about [email protected] and see how you can get involved.

Education

Now Accepting Applications: 2021 AANP Grants and Scholarships Program

Are you an NP student in search of funding to help support your education? Are you conducting research into quality of care or the NP role? Apply for a 2021 AANP Scholarship or Grant! If selected, you may receive $2,500 to $5,000 in scholarship funding or up to $5,000 in grant funding. Applications are due by 6 p.m. ET (5 p.m. CT) on March 24.

See All Funding Opportunities

Become an NP Advocate at the 2021 AANP Health Policy Conference

Learn to advocate effectively on legislative issues impacting you and your patients at the online 2021 AANP Health Policy Conference! Instead of the annual in-person conference, this year’s virtual conference will be available February 25-March 11. By attending, you will have two full weeks to earn up to 6.0 contact hours of CE credit. Many timely and informative presentation sessions will be delivered by policy and advocacy experts, who will offer their expertise in developing the skills and insight necessary to advocate effectively on the federal level. Registration closes March 9, so register early to save your spot!

White House Announces Launch of Federal Retail Pharmacy Program

On February 2, 2021, the White House announced the beginning of the first phase of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program for COVID-19 Vaccinations. This public-private partnership with 21 national pharmacies and networks of independent pharmacies represents more than 40,000 locations nationwide. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) worked with states to identify initial pharmacy partners. AANP will continue to provide updates as they become available.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Announces COVID-19 Health Insurance Special Enrollment Period

On January 28, 2021, HHS, through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), announced a special enrollment period (SEP) for Marketplace coverage in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE). The SEP will allow individuals and families in states with Marketplaces served by healthcare.gov to enroll in 2021 health insurance coverage. The enrollment period will be from February 15 to May 15, 2021. Further information on enrollment is available on the HHS SEP announcement website and on the SEP fact sheet.

Primary Care First Cohort 2 Eligibility Changes

On Thursday, February 4, CMS announced that the Request for Applications (RFA) for Cohort 2 of the Primary Care First (PCF) Model will be open to all primary care practices in the 26 PCF regions, regardless of their prior participation in the Comprehensive Primary Care Plus (CPC+) Model. Initially, PCF Cohort 2 was intended for advanced primary care practices currently participating in the CPC+ Model. As previously reported, NPs participating in this model will be authorized to certify their patients’ need for therapeutic shoes to treat diabetes. The application period is scheduled to open in the spring of 2021, and additional information can be found on the PCF website.

Telehealth has become an essential strategy for providing health care. With Sacred Heart University’s post-master’s certificate for nurse practitioners, you’ll lead the adoption and implementation of innovative telehealth services to increase access to care, address health justice inequities and improve clinical outcomes. Learn more and apply now for Spring 2021.

Emverm® (mebendazole) chewable tablet is the only FDA-Approved prescription treatment indicated for pinworm. Emverm offers a 95% cure rate against pinworm in a single, kid-friendly tablet. Eligible patients may pay as little as $5 on their prescription using the Emverm savings program. Learn more today!

GW Nursing offers highly-ranked online Master’s and Doctoral degree programs for nurse practitioners. Areas of study include adult gerontology, family, psych mental health, leadership, midwifery and health policy. Faculty focus on developing strong leaders by educating students to think and act strategically, participate in policy decisions, and lead organizations through change and improvement. Learn more today!

Arkansas NP Legislation to Update Prescribing Authorization and Retire Collaborative Agreement

Arkansas State Senator Kim Hammer introduced Senate Bill 186 in the Arkansas Senate. As introduced, the bill would retire the collaborative agreement requirement for select advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) with at least 1,000 hours of practice in an agreement. The bill would also update APRN prescriptive authority to include Schedules II-V. The bill has been referred to the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee, where it awaits a hearing and further action. The bill must move quickly to advance through the process before the end of the short 2021 legislative session, which is slated for mid-March. Arkansas AANP members can watch their emails for more details.

Georgia House Bill Introduced to Repeal Select APRN Prescribing Restrictions

Last week, Georgia Representative Mary Robichaux, along with four co-sponsors, introduced House Bill 213. As introduced, this legislation would update the Georgia controlled substances laws to include APRNs as authorized prescribers and proposes repealing select existing state laws related to APRN delegation protocol agreements with a physician. The bill would also recognize APRN signatures on items of patient care, including death certificates. The bill has been referred to the House Health and Human Services Committee, where it awaits further action. AANP Georgia members can watch their emails for added detail.

Kansas Legislature Introduces Bills to Retire Collaboration Protocols for NPs After 4,000 Hours

This week, Kansas lawmakers introduced Senate Bill 174 (S.B. 174)/House Bill 2256 (H.B. 2256). These bills, as introduced, would make changes to malpractice coverage, retire the physician protocol requirement for eligible APRN prescribers who have completed 4,000 hours and align Kansas with the requirements for national certification. Both legislative vehicles have been referred to their respective health committees — S.B. 174 to the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee and H.B. 2256 to the House Committee on Health and Human Services — where they each await a committee hearing and further action. AANP Kansas members can watch their emails for more detail.

Maine House Bill to Eliminate NP Supervision Requirement Slated for Next Week Committee Hearing

Maine Representative Anne Perry introduced L.D. 295 (H.P. 208), a bill that would eliminate the outdated requirement for Maine NPs to practice at least 24 months under the supervision of a physician or NP or be employed by a clinic or hospital that has a medical director who is a licensed physician. If enacted, this change would make permanent the temporary emergency suspension of Maine’s 24-month transition to practice requirement under the COVID-19 Executive Action that went into effect in March 2020. The fast-moving bill is scheduled for a committee hearing in the Committee On Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services next week on Thursday, February 18. AANP Maine members can watch emails for added detail.

Utah Introduces Bill to Retire Collaborative Agreement

Under current Utah law, an APRN who owns or operates a pain clinic, or who has been licensed for less than one year or has less than 2,000 hours of practice experience, must practice pursuant to a consultation and referral plan with a physician in order to prescribe Schedule II controlled substances. House Bill 287 would retire this requirement. As introduced, this bill would result in Full Practice Authority for Utah. The bill has been assigned to the House Business and Labor Committee and is waiting to be scheduled for a hearing.

Washington State Hears Bill to Address Reimbursement Issues

Lawmakers in the Senate Committee on Health and Long Term Care heard Senate Bill 5222 in committee on February 1. As introduced, this bill would require health carriers to reimburse NPs and other advanced practice nurses at the same rate as physicians for providing the same services. Oregon passed a similar law several years ago to address patient care challenges and bolster practice sustainability. AANP submitted written testimony in support of this legislation. The bill is currently pending committee vote.

The Voice of the Nurse Practitioner ®

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Registration for the virtual American Association of Nurse Practitioners® (AANP) 2021 Health Policy Conference is open! This popular conference is 100% online this year, and you will have two full weeks beginning February 25 to gain the skills you need to be an advocate for nurse practitioners (NPs) and patients.

 

Advocacy experts will discuss the priorities of the 117th Congress and the new Administration, as well as their potential impact on NPs and patients. Whether you are a seasoned NP advocate or a novice in the legislative area, you will develop the skills and insight necessary to advocate at the federal level. The robust agenda offers the opportunity to earn up to six contact hours of continuing education (CE) credit.

 

Act now — registration for this conference closes on March 9, 2021!

Government Affairs Update
December 7, 2020
 
This Week in Washington D.C.
Both the Senate and House of Representatives are in session this week, and it is scheduled to be very busy on Capitol Hill with a full agenda of items to be addressed. The current continuing resolution to fund the government expires at midnight on Friday, December 11, and Congress has not yet reached a deal to pass the 12 remaining spending bills to avoid a federal government shutdown. Congress may pass a short-term continuing resolution, which would provide more time to negotiate beyond this Friday’s deadline. Additionally, Congress worked throughout the weekend on a new COVID-19 pandemic relief package. At this time, however, a final package has not been released.

This weekend, President-elect Biden announced his selection of current California Attorney General and former U.S. Representative Xavier Becerra as his nominee for Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). It is important to note that Mr. Becerra must be confirmed by the Senate before he can take on this role as the head of HHS.

There are several Senate hearings scheduled this week, which include: the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs hearing titled, “Early Outpatient Treatment: An Essential Part of a COVID-19 Solution, Part II;” the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs hearing titled, “VA’s Response to COVID-19 across the VA Enterprise;” the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation Subcommittee on Transportation and Safety hearing titled, “The Logistics of Transporting a COVID-19 Vaccine;” and the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Investigations hearing titled, “Combatting the Opioid Crisis: Oversight of the Implementation of the STOP Act.”

Hearings scheduled in the House of Representatives this week include: the House Committee on Oversight and Reform hearing titled, “Purdue Pharma’s Role in the Opioid Epidemic,” and the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity hearing titled, “Identifying Congressional and Administration Priorities for the Next Congress: How we can support our Veterans through and after COVID-19.”

The American Association of Nurse Practitioners® (AANP) will continue to monitor legislative developments and provide updates.
 

2021 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Final Rule
On December 1, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the final rule for the 2021 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule. CMS has provided fact sheets on the fee scheduleQuality Payment Program and Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program, which provide greater detail regarding those individual sections of the final rule. Notably, CMS authorized Medicare coverage of diagnostic testing supervised by nurse practitioners (NPs). Thank you to all AANP members who wrote to CMS in support of this change! Other important aspects of this final rule include increased coverage of telehealth services and finalizing the updated documentation and reimbursement guidelines for Evaluation and Management (E&M) services that were approved in last year’s fee schedule. CMS anticipates that this increase in reimbursement for E&M services will lead to a 7% average increase in reimbursement for NP services billed to Medicare. AANP will continue to provide updates as we evaluate the more than 2,100-page final rule.
 

Request for Information (RFI) on Regulatory Relief to Support Economic Recovery: Comment Now!
On November 30, 2020, CMS released its RFI on Regulatory Relief to Support Economic Recovery. CMS is requesting feedback on which federal waivers should remain in place after the end of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, including many waivers that removed federal barriers to practice for NPs. AANP calls on NPs to utilize the Advocacy Center to comment and voice their support to permanently remove these barriers to practice. It is vital that the NP voice is heard. Please submit your comment letter to HHS before the close of the comment period on December 28, 2020.
 

Advocate for NP Priorities in the Remaining Days of 2020
There are a limited number of legislative days left in the year. It is critical that you use this time to reach out to your federal legislators and ensure they understand the importance of AANP’s legislative priorities.

Use the AANP Advocacy Center to send a message to your elected officials urging their support for legislative measures that seek to improve patient health and increase patient access to the health care provider of their choice.
 

As always, your Federal and State Government Affairs teams are available to answer any questions. Please feel free to contact us at [email protected] or [email protected]

Federal Government Affairs Team Members:
MaryAnne Sapio, VP Federal Government Affairs
Debra Swan, Associate VP Federal Government Affairs
Jessica Talbert, Director of Federal Advocacy
Franklin Harrington, Director of Reimbursement and Regulatory Affairs
Adam Horgan, Regulatory Affairs Analyst
Nick Rumberger, Director of Operations, Office of Government Affairs
Jan Towers, Senior Health Policy Consultant

State Government Affairs Team Members:
Tay Kopanos, VP State Government Affairs
Jamie Kings, State Policy Analyst
Ashley Shew, State Policy Analyst
Julia Dieperink, State Policy Coordinator

The AANP Government Affairs Update is sent weekly to update and inform our members about AANP activities, initiatives, programs and events. Any reproduction or republication of material contained in this newsletter is strictly prohibited without prior written permission from AANP.

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